(TibetanReview.net, Jun15’22) – In response to a joint statement by 47 democratic countries at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Jun 14, raising serious concern at the treatment especially of ethnic minority Uyghurs in East Turkestan (Xinjiang), but also the peoples of Hong Kong and Tibet, China has claimed support from 69 countries to demand that the apex UN rights body, in effect, stop any discussion of its abysmal record in these regions. Issues concerning Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are China’s internal affairs and brooks no interference, China’s official Xinhua Jun 14 cited Cuba as saying on behalf of what was claimed to be a group of 69 countries.
Delivering a joint statement on behalf of 47 listed countries, Paul Bekkers, the Dutch ambassador to the UN in Geneva, pointed to a number of “credible reports” indicating that more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained, reported the aljazeera.com Jun 14.
He has voiced concern at the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva about “reports of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilisation, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labour, and forced separation of children from their parents by authorities”.
“We urge China to ensure full respect for the rule of law, to comply with obligations under national and international law with regard to the protection of human rights and to ratify the ICCPR” (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).
The group has also called on Beijing to provide UN investigators and experts “meaningful and unfettered access” to independently observe the situation on the ground in Xinjiang.
“We also continue to be gravely concerned about the deterioration of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong and the human rights situation in Tibet,” the group has said in the joint statement.
The joint statement acknowledged the May 23-28 visit of the UN human rights chief Michel Bachelet to China and Xinjiang “which provided an opportunity for dialogue with the Chinese authorities on various human rights related concerns”. However, the group has expressed “interest in more detailed observations, including on the restrictions the Chinese authorities imposed on the visit as well as on your access to members of civil society and to places of your choice.”
Meanwhile, in the pro-China joint statement, Cuba has said “all human rights should be treated with the same emphasis, with sufficient importance attached to economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development in particular.”
“We oppose politicization of human rights and double standards, or interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.”